hree weeks after ABC abruptly canceled its top-rated series, Roseanne, the network has finally found a replacement show: a spinoff of the sitcom starring everyone but Roseanne Barr, whose racist tweet caused the show to be shelved in the first place.
Following aggressive talks with exec producer Tom Werner, the Disney-owned broadcaster has handed out a 10-episode, straight-to-series order for the spinoff. The series will take over Roseanne’s Tuesdays at 8 p.m. time slot.
The Conners will star original cast members John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman. Barr will, according to ABC, have no financial or creative involvement in the spinoff.
Chris Hardwick has been scrubbed from the Nerdist website by Legendary Entertainment after his ex-girlfriend, Chloe Dykstra, appeared to accuse—but did not name—the mogul of sexual and emotional abuse during their three-year relationship.
AMC, which airs Talking With Chris Hardwick, said in a statement Saturday, “While we assess the situation, Talking With Chris Hardwick will not air on AMC, and Chris has decided to step aside from moderating planned AMC and BBC America panels at Comic-Con International in San Diego next month.” NBC, for whom Hardwick hosts The Wall, also released a statement Saturday using very similar language as AMC, characterizing its relationship with Hardwick as “positive” and writing that they take allegations of misconduct “very seriously.”
Wednesday morning, Comcast confirmed an open secret: The company is preparing an all-cash offer for 21st Century Fox that it says is “superior” to Disney’s current $52.4 billion deal to acquire most of Fox’s assets.
Comcast said any offer for Fox would be at a “premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney,” but it didn’t reveal an anticipated price tag. The media conglomerate added that the structure and terms of its bid for the 21st Century Fox assets—including regulatory-risk provisions and the termination fee it would be required to pay—would be “at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer.”
The cable giant, which owns NBCUniversal, had in December bowed out of the bidding process just before Fox accepted the Disney deal, which includes the 20th Century Fox movie and TV studio, all the international pay-TV properties including its stake in Sky, as well as a number of other assets.
The trigger for Wednesday morning’s announcement, Comcast said, was the filing of SEC documents by Fox and Disney in preparation for special shareholder meetings. The summer meetings are when 21st Century Fox and Disney shareholders are expected to vote on the proposed $52.4 billion acquisition of the Fox assets—neither company has specified a date as yet for its vote.
In a major from ESPN, it is being reported that the WWE has agreed to air SmackDown Live on Fox starting in October of 2019. The deal is reportedly for 5 years and $1.025 Billion ($205 Million/year). The will also reportedly move the air date to Friday night. This amount is three times what NBCUniversal pays to air SmackDown Live on the USA network.
The move for now will only affect SmackDown Live. The WWE reportedly reached a deal with NBCUniversal last week to continue airing Monday Night Raw on USA network. There's no word yet on how this will affect shows like NXT or 205 Live, which currently both air on the WWE Network.
ESPN said it would make available hundreds of hours of professional and college sports, its library of programming, and even rugby and cricket matches on its new ESPN+ streaming service, which it intends to launch April 12 at a price of $4.99 per month.
At launch, ESPN+ will offer a live Major League Baseball game every day during the regular season, amounting to more than 180 games. It will offer a similar daily schedule of National Hockey League games during the 2018-2019 regular season. Soccer fans, meanwhile, will have exclusive access to full Major League Soccer out-of-market schedule and Chicago-area subscribers will be able to view in-market Chicago Fire matches. ESPN+ will also offer a selection of boxing matches, college sports, PGA Tour golfing events, Grand Slam tennis tournaments and international rugby and cricket matches.
If you work for a Sinclair station, or if you work in a market where they operate, you may have already seen a new promo airing. Last month, CNN’s Brian Stelter reported that the promo was not going over well with some anchors. It calls out “one-sided news stories,” and accused “some media outlets” of publishing “fake stories without checking facts first.”
The script, which parrots Donald Trump’s oft-declarations of developments negative to his presidency as “fake news,” brought upheaval to newsrooms already dismayed with Sinclair’s consistent interference to bring right-wing propaganda to local television broadcasts.
Deadspin published a transcription of the script and a video montage of anchors across the U.S. reading the script. Critics of the video were quick to voice their concern on social media, calling it “chilling” and an attempt to push an “extremely biased agenda.”
Sinclair’s corporate mandates are exacerbating tensions between the company’s local stations and its management. Journalists in local markets are chafing at the company’s requirements. Sinclair employees in several different markets described tense conversations in their newsrooms and anger directed at the company’s Hunt Valley, Md., headquarters.
A team of producers at Sinclair Broadcast Group—which owns 193 TV stations nationwide—creates the “must-runs.” The segments typically feature the company’s chief political analyst, Boris Epshteyn, a Russian-born former adviser to the president, and other conservatives from Trump world, including Sebastian Gorka, his former deputy assistant.
Less than two months after he was hit with a $5 million dollar lawsuit from a woman accusing him of rape, Russell Simmons has just been hit with another anonymous woman asking for at least $10 million in punitive damages.
A woman identified only as Jane Doe is suing the Def Jam founder, alleging he raped her after a concert she attended in Sacramento with her elementary-school-age son.
Simmons has been accused by at least nine women of various forms of sexual misconduct. He has adamantly denied wrongdoing, and stepped aside from his businesses when allegations against him first surfaced in November.
The Weather Channel has been sold to Entertainment Studios, a media company that includes several networks including Cars.tv, Pets.tv and Recipe.tv.
Entertainment Studios, owned by media mogul Byron Allen, will acquire the television network from its owners, The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and Comcast/NBCUniversal. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, though one source estimated the deal to be in the $300 million range.
With the acquisition of The Weather Channel and Local Now, Allen expands into live and local cable news. The Entertainment Studios divisions now include broadcast television syndication, production and distribution of more than 41 programs; eight 24/7 cable television networks; theatrical motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; digital movie acquisition and distribution; and global news publishing.
Comcast, Blackstone and Bain purchased The Weather Channel for $3.5 billion in July 2008. The digital operations of The Weather Channel were acquired in 2015 by IBM in a deal pegged at around $2 billion.
Allen said he want to invest more in The Weather Channel, expanding both its international and local distribution. It’s part of a broader strategy to invest what he said would be billions of dollars in the media and entertainment industry
The sexual harassment and abuse allegations against Ryan Seacrest won’t keep him from working the red carpet Oscar night. E! has confirmed Seacrest will be doing red carpet hosting duties before the Academy Awards on Sunday.
He’ll also continue on with other projects with the company, like the American Idol revival. In Variety Monday, former E! stylist Suzie Hardy accuses Seacrest of “years of unwanted sexual aggression,” ranging from sexual harassment like pursuing her despite her refusal, to physical assault like groping her vagina and slapping her buttocks.
On the syndicated Live With Kelly And Ryan Tuesday morning, co-host Ryan Seacrest made no mention of the sexual harassment allegations made against him by his former personal stylist. As for the broadcast morning shows, the Today show and CBS This Morning reported the story.
The allegations were first made in a Nov. 10 letter from Hardy’s attorney to Seacrest, E! and the cable channel’s corporate parent, NBCUniversal. In November, a week after being contacted by Hardy’s attorney, he issued a public statement saying that “someone that worked as a wardrobe stylist for me nearly a decade ago at E! News” had issued a complaint against him, without revealing the specifics of the allegation.
“Over the course of a two-month process, our outside counsel interviewed more than two dozen people regarding the allegations, including multiple separate meetings with the claimant and all firsthand witnesses that she provided,” according to a statement issued by E! Tuesday. “The investigator is an attorney with nearly 20 years’ experience and is highly regarded professionally. Any claims that question the legitimacy of this investigation are completely baseless.”
Seacrest said Tuesday in a statement, “This person who has accused me of horrible things offered, on multiple occasions, to withdraw her claims if I paid her millions of dollars. I refused. I have worked extremely hard to achieve my success and I don’t take my opportunities for granted. I don’t want to accuse anyone of not telling the truth but in this case, I have no choice but to again deny the claims against me, remind people that I was recused of any wrongdoing and put the matter to rest.”
After a decade of comedy silence, Chris Rock is back with an all new Netflix special called Tambourine. This will be his first special since 2008's Kill The Messenger.
The special, which can be streamed starting today (Feb. 14) only on Netflix. Last year, Rock embarked on his first headlining tour in nine years. In addition, he performed at Dave Chappelle’s Radio City Music Hall residency, which also featured appearances from Childish Gambino, Chance the Rapper, Lauryn Hill, and Erykah Badu.